Basic processes within individual cells are integrated as part of the development and function of entire multicellular organisms. How this global coordination is achieved is a central question in biology. Plants use silencing small (s)RNA to control physiological and defensive processes at both the cellular and organismal levels by trafficking sRNAs from cell-to-cell through plasmodesmata and over long distances through the phloem. However, the parameters and mechanisms controlling the movement of plant small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and micro RNAs (miRNAs) remain poorly understood and may well vary extensively depending on the cell types involved, quantities and biochemical nature of sRNAs. Combining biochemical, molecular and genetic approaches, the proposed project aims at deciphering the specific mechanisms underpinning viral, artificial and endogenous sRNA movement. The project is expected to generate a wealth of original information and significantly improve our understanding of RNA silencing in plants and perhaps other organisms.
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